By Modou S. Joof
United Democratic Party (UDP)’s national treasurer Amadou Sanneh has been convicted on charges of “conspiracy to commit an act with seditious intention” and “sedition” and handed a five-year jail term on Wednesday.
Malang Fatty and Sambou Fatty who were tried alongside Sanneh had at the beginning of the trial pleaded guilty to the charges that also included “possession of seditious publication” and “false swearing”. Both were equally handed 5-year jail terms by the Special Criminal Court on December 18, 2013.
Giving the sentencing, High Court judge Emmanuel Nkea said having considered the evidence and the legal authorities relied on by the prosecution and defence “it is my view that only one issue stands out for determination in this matter.”
“I am satisfied that the prosecution has proven its case with certainty required by the law on counts 1 ( conspiracy) and 2 (sedition), the 3rd accused (Sanneh) is accordingly found guilty, and convicted as charged on counts 1 and 2,” he said.
Justice Nkea said: “To alleged falsely that the 1st accused (Malang Fatty) had been arrested and detained and his security is at risk for the purpose of seeking political asylum, is to falsely portray the government of The Gambia in the eyes of others as one that arrests and detains its own people, thereby putting their security at risk.”
He said this was intended not only to bring hatred or contempt but also incite disaffection against the Government of The Gambia. He said he hold as a fact the false allegation contained therein are seditious.
“… and having made such declaration without just cause, I hold as a fact that the 3rd accused (Amadou Sanneh) intended this to be the consequence of his action,” he said.
Nkea said the sentences should run from the date their trio’s arrest. They were arrested in September and their trial began in October this year.